‘Team Carry On’ tourney set to cast off

Published 12:01am Sunday, April 21, 2013

The third annual Relay for Life “Team Carry On” bass tournament will cast off on Lake St. John Saturday April 27, out of Spokane Resort.

By then, these crazy late-season cold fronts should be gone. Today we are two days behind a very strange cold front that lowered the air temperature to the low 40s and sent the barometric pressure through the roof. High pressure does not make for a good day of fishing. It may be a pretty day to be fishing but not a good day for catching.

This feels more like mid-March than April. Today the barometric pressure remains high, and there is not a cloud in the sky. I would guess the fishing was very tough Saturday and not so good today.

Prior to this cold front, surface water temperature of the area lakes was 68 to 70 degrees and slowly climbing. The water temperature may drop a few degrees, but not much. The bright sunshine and lack of clouds will keep the water warm during the day.

Monday, we will start warming up again and, if the forecast is correct, we will see a mid-week smaller cold front, some rain and then warming up again. This type weather can really mess the fishing up. Prior to the fronts, the fish feed like crazy. The front passes, and the fish lay up.

You can still catch fish behind a front if you change a few things. One of the most important things you can do is scale your lure and line size. That is something that is very hard for me to do. Several of my bass fishing fanatic friends and myself prefer power fishing with big heavy jigs like an 11/16 ounce Crawgator jig with big plastic trailer on 20- to 25-pound test line and a 7- to 8-foot rod most of the time.

That’s fine when fishing prior to and during the passage of a cold front. We don’t get a lot of strikes, and it is hard work, but in tournaments if you get five bites on the big jigs you will normally win the event or place. When a cold front blows through, we have to scale the jig size down to a 7/16 and some go as light as a 5/16 ounce jig with a small plastic trailer and fish it on lighter line.

You will get more strikes when fishing behind a front by using smaller lures. The same thing applies to white perch. If you were catching perch on 1/16 and 1/32 ounce jig heads with a tube jig fished on 8- to 10-pound test line and the bite gets tough, try scaling down to a 1/64 ounce jig head and a 6- or even 4-pound test line.

Finesse fishing is not one of my strong patterns at all. Our water clarity is nothing like it used to be when we had a lot of moss in our lakes, so we can get by with heavy line and large lures most of the time. For whatever reason, the coontail moss that used to grow in the ends of the lakes and in the shallow mid-lake areas is gone. The moss filters the water, which increases water quality, clarity and really helps the fish population.

The moss has been gone for more than a decade. I am not sure we will ever see the clean, pretty water we had prior to the year 2000.

Getting back to the Relay for Life bass tournament, I do expect a great turnout this year. Our out-of-town fishing friends are coming to fish this one, and we will have the locals that like to fish benefits and higher payout tournaments. This is a benefit, but it still offers a good payout. Based on just 50 boats, the first-place winner will take home $1,500, while second place will pocket $700 and third place $400. We will pay a total of five places unless we get more than 50 entries.

The more entries, the more places we can pay. The big bass division will pay out $700 and $300. A portion of the fees collected will be donated to Relay for Life in memory of my late mother-in-law, Dena Alexander Thornton. We lost her after a short, hard-fought battle with cancer three years ago. Come join us at Spokane Resort on April 27 for the third annual Relay for Life bass tournament and make a cast for a great cause. Good luck to all!